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The Press: Better Times

2 minute read

William Randolph Hearst probably would not employ a self-styled Communist. But he knew that Communists were on his payroll, and that they were numerous and strong enough to finance a house organ (Hearst Worker) for many months. There have also been Communists on the Scripps-Howard papers who published a fiery Beacon when they had the time and money.

But neither of these clandestine sheets cropped up in such strange surroundings as did Better Times, published monthly since December by the “Communist Party Units of the New York Times.'” Though it isunlikely that there are more than a handful of Communist Party members among the capitalistic Times’s 3,000-odd employes, Better Times is eagerly read by hundreds of chuckling readers, times employes gobble up such vilifying stories as these in the current issue: “SpeedUp and Spies Drive Ad Solicitors,” “Mexican Cabinet Officer Attacks Times Stories as Deliberate Lies; Sees Paper Helping Oil Companies.”

Such reporting by Better Times disturbs the parent Times much as a squeaking Leftist mouse would disturb a capitalist elephant. Most galling is Better Times’s latest boast: “A distinct improvement in the New York Times handling of news from Rebel Spain was noticed by readers after the exposure of William Carney as Franco’s press agent* in the last issue of Better Times. . . . Mr. [Publisher Arthur Hays] Sulzberger is quoted as saying of the Spanish War, I confess to a vast sense of relief that I do not have to take sides either with Loyalist or Rebel.’ He is glad he is not compelled to choose between right and wrong. Normal persons, and certainly the masses of the people, will feel horror at such moral disintegration.”

*For another opinion on the Times’s handling of the Spanish War, see p. 26.

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